"James is a great friend and has made a lot of important contributions to the community…He works beautifully with our young people," saidMayor John Fetterman. "It's rare when you have an artist that's so approachable, talented and down to earth."
Park: 30' x 100' Mosaic: 16' x 24'. Park and Mosaic Designed By James Simon. Tile and glass mosaic and trees, bushes and grasses. In collaboration with Allegheny County, the Mid- Atlantics Art Foundation, and the AmeriCorps Braddock Youth Project, this project turned a trashed out abandoned lot into a beautiful community mosaic and green park/space.
My artwork has always been for the public at large with an emphasize on adding something positive and imaginative to everyday peoples' lives. The creation of the mosaic park with hands-on community involvement was an important and meaningful project for both the artist and the young adults of Braddock. The project gave these young adults an opportunity to contribute to an art project that will have a long lasting positive visual impact on their community. It also gave them an opportunity to work with a professional artist who has lived and worked in many places in the world.
For me, the creation of the mosaic park that was a community/cultural exchange was a wonderful artistic opportunity. Along with Allegheny County landscapers, I created the basic infrastructure/layout for the park:supervised the pouring of the concrete foundations for the pond, the waterfall, the streams, and the totem pole bases. The young adults from Braddock, with my guidance applied the colorful mosaics to the surfaces-creating mosaic fish, animals, flowers, grasses and more.
The youth were exposed to various art worlds from Western to Far East to Indigenous art, and were given encouragement to draw from their own environment to create their own imagery. Although these young adults were involved in all aspects of the project the final imagery was filtered and translated through my imagination and skill. My goal is always to achieve an end product that is highest quality public art.